A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this earnest online reality series -- which features five twentysomethings trying to break into the entertainment industry -- connects viewers with the show's website that streams nonstop footage of cast members at home. Sometimes this means viewers can see young adults in underwear, towels, bathing suits, etc. Viewers are strongly encouraged to participate in the show, including communicating directly with the show participants, through various online social networks and interactive methods like instant messaging and texting. Advertisements for products and services from Sephora, Sprint, and Comcast are embedded in each episode, while links to the product websites appear on the screen. Watch for the kind of raw language and drinking that usually accompanies reality shows like this.
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What's the story?
IF I CAN DREAM is an online reality series featuring five twentysomethings participating in a project designed to give them the chance to make their Hollywood dreams come true. The series, which was created by American Idol mastermind Simon Fuller, follows the aspiring actors, models, and singers as they go on a whirlwind promotional tour around the world before settling into a Hollywood house where they live together. Once there, cameras follow as they network among industry players, go out on auditions, and pose for modeling shoots and promotional opportunities. Their time in front of the camera continues at home, where over 52 cameras record every move. In addition to the 30-minute highlights that appear weekly on Hulu.com, non-stop footage from the participants' home life is streamed on the show’s website so that audiences around the world can watch the drama that unfolds.
Is it any good?
The show, which is Hulu.com’s first original program, combines some of the positive energy that comes with dreaming big with some of the expected drama of any reality series. While the cast members do not have to participate in house challenges or fear getting voted out of the house, they do have to deal with egos, insecurities, and other personality issues.
The project certainly opens doors for these folks, but the show’s producers (some of whom appear periodically on camera) clearly note that they are not guaranteed success. But the interactive nature of the show, including the use webchats, and social media outlets like Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook, to keep connected with audiences will certainly help to make them temporary reality stars, whether or not they make it in Hollywood.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to break into the entertainment industry. What kind of challenges to people face? How many people who try to succeed in Hollywood actually make it? Given that the cast is being given some help, do you think this series offers a real view of what it takes to make a Hollywood dream come true? Should people ever give up their dream of making it big in Hollywood? Why or why not?
What do you think about the use of websites on-line social networking tools to promote a show and/or its cast members? Do you think using social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and/or Twitter will get people to like the show more? Do you think watching what people are doing in their homes from your computer should be viewed as entertainment? Parents: check out some of CSM’s advice and tips for managing digital media in your home.